Toronto Marlies 5 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1
March 23, 2011
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Two-goal nights by Ryan Hamilton and Tyler Brenner and a 41-save effort by Ben Scrivens powered the Toronto Marlies to a 5-1 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.
The Griffins (35-27-2-8), who lost in regulation for just the second time in their last 12 games (9-2-1-0), are now tied with the Marlies for third place in the North Division. After concluding a five-games-in-eight-nights homestand, they’ll play seven of their final eight regular season contests on the road, beginning with a two-game set against the Texas Stars this Friday and Saturday in Austin.
Toronto (35-28-1-9) needed just 45 seconds to draw first blood. Christian Hanson’s try from the right side was turned aside by Jordan Pearce, but the fat rebound found Hamilton for an easy shot into a wide-open net.
Aaron Voros was awarded a penalty shot at 8:50 when Greg Amadio tripped him during a partial breakaway, and he slipped the puck through Pearce’s five hole to make it a 2-0 advantage for the visitors. It was the first goal allowed by Pearce in four career penalty shots faced, and it marked the 10th attempt for a Griffins opponent – including six this season – since Grand Rapids was last awarded one of its own (Dec. 9, 2009, Francis Pare).
Hamilton notched his second of the night with 3:22 remaining in the period to give Toronto a three-goal cushion. Hanson’s shot from the right boards trickled through Pearce, but the puck did not cross the line until Hamilton crashed the crease and knocked it across.
David Brown relieved Pearce to begin the second period – marking his first AHL appearance since Dec. 7, 2008 for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – and earned an assist before he saw his first shot. Nineteen seconds into a two-man advantage, Derek Meech fired an ice-hugging slap shot from the top of the right circle that snuck past Scrivens at 7:45, pulling the Griffins within 3-1. Pare was credited with the first assist, giving him 77 helpers for his Grand Rapids career to tie him with teammate Cory Emmerton for ninth on the franchise’s all-time list.
Brenner, playing his first pro game out of R.I.T., tallied 1:16 into the third to re-establish the Marlies’ three-goal lead, roofing a rebound from a sharp angle to the left of the net. He netted his second at 10:29, charging down the slot to put a backhand past a sprawled Brown.
Pearce stopped 9-of-12 in the loss, while Brown made 15 saves in relief.
Notes: Several regulars were missing from the Griffins' lineup, including forwards Jan Mursak (recalled to Detroit) and Jamie Johnson (AHL suspension) and defenseman Brendan Smith (injured)...The loss broke Grand Rapids’ six-game winning streak in Wednesday home games…With tonight’s crowd of 8,905, the Griffins are guaranteed to finish with an attendance increase for the fourth time in the last five seasons. Heading into their April 8 home finale, their total attendance of 278,812 is just 1,815 shy of last season’s total.
Three Stars: 1. TOR Scrivens (W, 41 saves); 2. TOR Brenner (two goals); 3. TOR Hamilton (two goals)